Solar energy is gaining attention in many countries and has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years due to both technological improvements resulting in cost reductions and government policies supportive of renewable energy development and utilization. Photovoltaic technology can be used on a variety of scales, from an integrated solar cell in a solar lantern to a battery-operated solar system on a house or school or even a large grid-connected solar power plant with a capacity of several MW. The solar panel is the heart of the solar power system. The development of solar panel technologies will have huge benefits for the global energy ecosystem. As they say, knowledge is power and, if you have the right information, you can know if you are making the right decision. Therefore, I have compiled a comprehensive list of the advantages of solar panels, just for you.
Advantages of solar panels
A solar system is made up of connected solar panels that absorb rays from the sun and convert it to electricity. A single solar panel can produce only a limited amount of power; most installations contain multiple panels.
The use of solar panels is growing fast and has the following advantages for users:
1. Solar panels reduce your electricity bill
Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source. Once a solar panel is installed, solar energy can be produced free of charge. The only cost is usually linked to purchasing the solar panels that are then used to capture solar energy. In the long term, there can be a high return on investment due to the amount of free energy a solar panel can produce, it is estimated that the average household will see 50% of their energy coming in from solar panels.
In summary, solar panels make it possible to use less of the grid’s costly electricity. Moreover, when you produce more energy than you need, the utility company will buy back the unused energy for credits.
2. Solar panels are good for the environment
Solar panels are eco-friendly and considered one of the “greenest” electricity resources. Because they operate by interacting with a renewable energy source, sunlight, there is no fear of depleting yet another natural resource. With solar panels, we can shrink the carbon footprint in our homes, by reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. They help us to go green and take care of the environment.
3. Solar panels have a long lifetime
Most commercially available solar panels are capable of producing electricity for at least twenty years. The typical warranty given by panel manufacturers is over 90% of rated output for the first 10 years, and over 80% for the second 10 years. Good quality panels are expected to function for 30 – 35 years.
4. Solar panels do not need so much maintenance
Very little maintenance is needed to keep solar panels running. There are no moving parts in a solar panel which makes it impossible to damage them. If maintenance is needed, don’t worry. Maintenance of solar panels is relatively easy as the most common technical problems occur due to misplaced or dirty modules and can be identified visually. In these situations, the energy harvested decreases and the energy balance might be disrupted. Hence, the observation of the surrounding area is essential not only to avoid shadowing but also to decrease the risk of hot spots that damage the generator. Maintenance and sustainable operation are less a problem where market-based approaches to PV systems have been introduced and private companies are responsible for operating the PV facilities and systems.
5. Solar panels are upgradable and expandable
After the installation, if you ever want to upgrade or expand your solar system in the future, it is very much possible. All you need to do is to add extra solar panels to your system. Scientists continue to hunt for ways to make better panels. They are trying new materials, such as plastics. They are also looking for ways solar panels can be more useful. In the future, you will have the possibility to expand your panels with more advanced panels.
6. Solar panels can produce electricity even on cloudy days
One well-worn myth is that solar panels do not work in cloudy conditions. But this is not true. The solar panels can still absorb the UV rays even on cloudy, snowy, and rainy days. However, it’s good to note that the production of electricity will be lower during these days as compared to when there is sunshine. Since sunny conditions are the norm for most developing countries, an installed capacity of 1kWp (typically 4-6 individual modules with a total surface of approximately 8m2) can generate more than 2.000 kWh annually. In moderate, cloudy climates, the modules may reach only 50% or less of this output.
7. Solar panels operate silently
Solar panels make absolutely no noise at all. Apart from fighting air pollution with their clean energy, they’re also fighting noise pollution with their quietness. Because they do not have any moving parts.
8. Solar panels use the infinite energy source
The sun is an infinite natural source of energy. Unlike fossil fuels, its energy will never run out. The sunlight that hits the Earth in an hour has more energy than the people of the world use in a year. Solar energy will last forever whereas it is estimated that the world’s oil reserves will last for 30 to 40 years. Solar panels use the sun without causing pollution.
9. Solar panels can be installed easily in any location
No matter where you live, the chances are that you can successfully use solar panels for your electrical needs. They can even be used in remote areas, where there is no access to an electricity grid. They are rugged and are very adaptable to climate conditions and the latest panel models are efficient enough to work well without facing directly south and some will even produce electricity under cloud cover.
10. Solar panels are new technology and open to development
Solar panels are one of the fastest-growing renewable energy technologies and it is expected that they will play a significant role in the future global electricity generation mix. According to market research, demand for energy increasing worldwide, with a continuous rise in the price of fossil combustibles. It is expected in the future, that the demand for solar energy will grow faster. Out of certain renewable energy options, solar energy is the most potent source for all countries.
11. Solar panels are not expensive
The price of solar power has continued to fall so that in many countries it is cheaper than ordinary fossil fuel electricity from the grid. These low prices make solar panels more accessible to more users than ever before. Although the prices will vary depending on the type of panels, quality, size, and installing company, among many other factors the average cost of a 2kW system ranges between $6,000 and $7,500 countywide.
It’s also important to be aware that solar panels will take many years to pay for themselves, and this time is referred to as the ‘payback period’.
12. Solar panels are made from various materials
Over the years several types of photovoltaic technologies have been developed. You can prefer the below technologies according to the needs of your projects. This will give you flexibility in your purchasing decisions.
Crystalline silicon cells: This technology uses the wafer-based crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology, either single (mono) crystalline (sc-Si) or multi-crystalline (mc-Si)
Thin-film cells: The thin-film technology reduces the amount of material required in creating the active material of solar cells.
Concentrating photovoltaic technology: Concentrating photovoltaic systems utilize optical devices, such as lenses or mirrors, to concentrate direct solar radiation onto very small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells.
Organic photovoltaic: An organic solar cell or plastic solar cell is a type of polymer solar cell that uses organic semiconductors.
13. Solar panels have a long history
Today, solar technology is growing fast. We can rely on that technology because it is extremely old and work started back in the 1800s. The French physicist Antoine – Cesar Becquerel is credited with the solar panel research, in 1839. While he was experimenting with a solid electrode that was dipped in the electrolyte solution, he was able to see a photovoltaic effect. He even saw a voltage develop when the sunlight fell on the electrode. The solar cell creation for the first time is credited to Charles Fritts, who used junctions that were created when the semiconductor was coated by a very thin layer of gold. The earliest solar cells and panels that were created were extremely inefficient and the energy conversation received from the sun stood under 1%. Russell Ohl was the first inventor, who created the silicon solar cell in 1941. In 1954, the three American researchers Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin were able to create a solar panel that could have an efficiency level of 6% with direct sunlight.
14. Solar panels have a wide range of application areas
There are many practical applications for the use of solar panels. It can first be used in agriculture as a power source for irrigation. In health care, solar panels can be used to refrigerate medical supplies. It can also be used for infrastructure. PV modules are used in photovoltaic systems and include a large variety of electric devices such as power stations, rooftop solar systems, standalone PV systems, solar planes, solar vehicles, solar panels on spacecraft and space stations.